Ponderings with Doug – July 13, 2018

My friends who track such things tell me that my most read articles are when I’m going off about something. Articles about the parish council or pot holes seem to be particularly interesting to readers. When I’m rambling about theological stuff and trying to get you to think a bit, not so much. I admit that I enjoy stirring stuff. An artist in one church drew a cartoon of me standing in front of a sacred cow with a stick raised above my head about to swat the cow. I confess it. I love the book; Sacred Cows make Gourmet Burgers. I guess I should repent, but that would be no fun.

I do appreciate the kind words about these articles. I guess I am fulfilling my mother’s dream for me. She wanted me to grow up and become a writer. I might do that one day. I need to work on it though. I write too much in the passive voice and I have not figured out why. You can’t stir up trouble in the passive voice.

So, this is an article will start people buzzing around town or not.

Did you know that the Methodists and the Episcopalians are about to hook back up?

We Methodists call the Episcopal Church “mother church.” John Wesley was a priest in the Church of England. He never split from the church. He never turned his back on the church of his baptism. He remained a loyal member of the church until his death. In his heart, he never intended to start another church.

In colonial America, the Methodists and the Episcopal church parted company. Although many things we do are like each other, because we are cousins. Until 1938, we Methodists were known as “The Methodist-Episcopal Church.”

It seems that both denominations are planning a reconciliation.

We are getting back together officially in 2020.

The fun thing about all this is that most members of the Methodist Church and most members of the Episcopal church have no idea this is in the works. This article will cause the phones in the various offices to start ringing. The Episcopalians will want to know if they must do contemporary worship and the Methodists are wondering if they will have real wine with their communion. There could be great ecclesiastical folderol.


This is in the proposal stage still. It is a proposal on full communion. The Methodists will vote on it at our General Conference in 2020. I’m not sure when our Episcopal brothers and sisters will vote. It is amusing that conversations have gone on for years and the laity seem not to know about them.

What is happening is that we will fully recognizing each other’s communion and ordination. Some day after 2020, if the proposal is approved by both denominations, a Methodist minister might be assigned to the Episcopal Church and an Episcopal priest might be assigned to the Methodist Church. Younger clergy are in for an interesting future in our two churches.

We will remain two separate denominations, we will swap stuff.

Crazy huh?

The Apostle Paul said that we Christians are called to the ministry of reconciliation. He wrote, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.”

The United Methodist Church and the Episcopal Church are talking about official reconciliation. This conversation has gone on for years.

We are called to help each other get along. We are called to build bridges over the things that divide us.

Reconciliation starts with conversation and empathy. It is not easy work.

In some cases, groups faithfully agree to disagree and that is honest.

With whom do you need to be reconciled?

3 thoughts on “Ponderings with Doug – July 13, 2018

  1. LOL… as the office manager at Trinity, I look forward to the phone ringing, Doug. I have long been fascinated with the Anglican/Methodist relationship as an Anglophile and frequent reader of literature from the Regency period. There’s a stark beauty in pausing at this juncture and letting the old dust settle, walking across the aisle, and taking each other’s hand. Like two very interesting parts in a puzzle tapestry of faith, I believe that we will settle in beside each other as easily as we do down the street from one another in town. The Lord be with you.

  2. Thank you for a clear and generous summary of the journey to full communion of Methodist and Episcopal churches. When the Episcopal Church traveled into full communion with the Evangelical Lutheran church of America, about a decade ago, I believe that we all found in the process a chance to examine and grow in our own belief and customs, and in the destination an occasion for joy as we grow closer to our brothers and sisters in Christ. I share with you that I look forward to the time ahead. –Fr. Frank

  3. I always told my boys when they were growing up, it doesn’t matter what’s on the church sign, it’s what’s in your heart . Just a thought, thank you for all your articles.

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